Roxbury makerspace gets $100k grant
Small Business Administration Boosts Dudley Square Clubhouse Network
Whenever the Small Business Administration hosts award competitions, grants or funding opportunities, SBA’s Massachusetts District Office makes sure the small business community in the commonwealth gets a fair shot at the resources.
The Makerspace Training, Collaboration and Hiring (MaTCH) Pilot Competition, recently launched by the SBA, provides funding to expand programs with job-specific and soft-skills training within existing makerspaces.
Makerspaces are uniquely positioned to help increase workforce development across the country. These spaces are open to people focused on obtaining new skills, including current and aspiring entrepreneurs. Many of these spaces offer a variety of tools, such as 3D printers, laser cutters, woodworking machines, soldering irons and sewing machines. Many makerspaces are open and operating across our region.
The MaTCH competition led to 12 grants in the following tiers:
- Seed: Up to $25,000 to seed small workforce development programs.
- Proof of Principle: Up to $100,000 to grow programs with a proven history of training and/or workforce development.
- Scale: Up to $200,000 for capacity building of successful existing programs with a strong history of training and/or workforce development. This winner would also have graduated participants in at least two training cycles.
On Aug. 20, I was excited to learn that The Clubhouse Network, with a makerspace in the heart of Boston, has been awarded a Scale grant of $100,000.
The Clubhouse at 2107 Washington St. in Roxbury is a makerspace that promotes community, peer-to-peer support, and inclusion. It is part of the Clubhouse Network, which operates clubhouses around the world but was founded and is based in the Boston area. The Roxbury Clubhouse is its flagship site.
Previously an artist studio, inventor’s workshop, design house, film sound stage and backlot, hackerspace, music studio, and video game development lab, the Roxbury Clubhouse provides a safe, creative learning environment for teens to explore their own ideas, develop skills, and build confidence in themselves through the use of technology.
With the award from the SBA MaTCH pilot competition, The Clubhouse Network will expand its Clubhouse-to-Career (C2C) Pathways to Success program for young adults.
Participants will each be awarded a stipend upon completion of the program as an incentive, as compensation for time spent and to recognize the work accomplished. The C2C program has a goal of immediate placement into a meaningful paid job.
When announcing the awardees, SBA Acting Administrator Chris Pilkerton noted, “The MaTCH competition is a testament to the SBA’s commitment to identifying employment opportunities and supporting small business’ workforce recruitment and retention. Makerspaces are uniquely positioned to help innovate training for the workforces of today and tomorrow.”
Robert H. Nelson is Massachusetts district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration.